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Annual World Refining Outlook 2020

A detailed assessment of the mid/long-term operating environment for global refining and the implications for products trade.

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A detailed assessment of the mid/long-term operating environment for global refining, and the implications for oil products trade. We forecast products demand and review refinery investments to identify the likely pressures on the refining sector and what this could mean for refining margins in the next 5-10 years.

The refining industry—quite rightly—is currently focusing on the dual impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Saudi/Russia price war. Hopefully, these will be short-term issues although they will have longer-term impacts that could affect the industry for years to come.

Within all the current chaos, refining capacity and complexity continues to increase—further impacting the sectors’ ability to balance supply with demand. Demand is still growing, albeit at lower rates than previously forecast. However, the nature of the product barrel is changing putting fresh challenges in front of the refiner.

In this report we take the time to look at how products demand will evolve and how the refining landscape is changing.

We continue to forecast that product demand growth will be led by light distillates, especially naphtha but also gasoline, particularly in the Asia Pacific. Jet demand continues to increase and this will put additional pressure on refiners who are trying to maximise naphtha production as well. However, it seems gasoil/diesel demand may well have peaked. Perhaps the existing and forecast hydrocracking capacity will be more focused on jet fuel production rather than diesel.

With the shift to lower sulphur “IMO 2020” fuels effectively done, we now have a new product in the mix. This will further influence refinery margins and crude processing decisions.

Indeed, in a world that seems to have plenty of refining capacity it will significantly influence the decision to run simple or complex capacity—something the industry has not seen as an everyday issue before.

Our conclusions will highlight how demand pressures are impacting refinery utilisation, the pressures on refinery throughput and on refinery margins. It will also reinforce our earlier messages about the IMO 2020 regulation changes; all set within an internally consistent framework of refinery capacity, estimated refinery margins, and product prices. We review how surplus refining capacity may change, challenging the call for further capacity additions.

Key Areas Addressed

  • How will products demand evolve over the next 10+ years?
  • How might refinery investments develop over the next 5-10 years?
  • How are refiners responding to the IMO 2020 bunker fuel spec changes?
  • How does refinery capacity match up to products demand? Do refiners need to run less crude? Indeed, should some consider closing capacity?
  • How will product trade flows develop?
  • What will happen to refinery margins over the next 5-10 years?


  • A review of the global oil market outlook.
  • An assessment of refinery capacity additions.
  • A review of the implications and possible outcomes of the IMO bunker fuel specification changes in 2020.
  • Changes from our last Annual World Refining Outlook.
  • How a global product supply/demand balance is likely to be achieved.


Annual World Refining Outlook (PDF - PowerPoint Layout)

FGE will be available for a conference call, WebEx meeting, or general meeting to present and discuss the key findings of this report.

Appendix Tables FGE AWRO 2020 (Excel Data Tables)

Scope of Coverage

  • Products
    • Crude Oil
    • LPG
    • Jet/Kerosene
    • Fuel Oil
    • Naphtha
    • Gasoil
    • Gasoline
  • Table of Contents
    • Executive Summary
    • Updates (Crude Price, Products Demand, Refining Spare Capacity; Forecast Projects)
    • Untapped Potential
    • IMO2020: What happened?
    • Refinery Capacity Additions
    • Product Supply: Globally by Product
    • Refining and Product Supply by Region
    • Product Prices and Refinery Margins
    • Appendix
    • Confidentiality
  • Data
    • Prices and Margins (Crude and Products)
    • Refining Capacity by Sub-Region
    • Refinery Crude Runs by Region
    • CDU Capacity by Region
    • Regional Net Trade Blances by Product
    • Firm/Likely Refinery Projects by Region
    • Refining Capacity by Region
    • Assumed Refining Capacity Additions/Closures
    • Refinery Utilisation Rates by Region
    • Product Balances by Region
    • Regional Demand by Product (up to 2030)

This Service Will Add Value To

  • Downstream Operators Needing a perspective on the extent to which the emerging pressures on their business emanate from local or international sources.
  • Investors Looking for input in assessing their portfolio strategies.
  • Crude Oil Producers Looking for changing trends in crude oil demand, prices, and quality considerations.
  • Integrated Companies Seeking an outside perspective on the likely future economic operating environment of the sector.
  • Products Traders Trying to identify emerging underlying shifts in trade flows.
  • Shipping Operators Conducting analysis of potential tanker demand, also reviewing the overall implications of the new IMO bunker regulations.

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